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Colin and Sue’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 26 Oct 2006

Location: Rurrenabaque, Bolivia

MapBolivian Journeys

We survived our bus journey to La Paz and spent a couple of days sightseeing and arranging our trip to the pampas. La Paz is amazing - the whole place is a street market where you can buy anything from food to clothes to electrical goods to llama foetuses (to put in the foundations of new buildings of course) and all manner of other unidentifiable things.

We decided to wimp out of the 20 hour bus journey to Rurrenabaque (or Rurre as it´s known) the starting point for jungle and pampas trips, and take the civilised option of flying - or so it seemed. The flights are notorious for being cancelled because of either bad weather over the Andes or because the grass landing strip is waterlogged. We managed to get on the first flight, which is the most likely to go, turned up at the airport at about 10am and all seemed well for our 11.20 flight. At about 11.15am, we were told it would leave about 12noon, then 1pm, then 2pm. The planes hold 16 passengers and two English girls on the flight had already been cancelled from the previous day. At 2.30pm we were given the option of flying to San Borja (where?) and taking a bus for 3 hours to Rurre (and we had to pay for the bus). A quick consult of guide books told us the bus journey took 5-8 hours but we were assured our bus would be "muy rapido". With no guarantee of flights next day, we went for it.

Well, the flight left at 3.15pm, we arrived about 4pm and packed into a small, very hot minibus and left about 4.30pm. The entire journey was on dirt roads which were slippery from the rains - the bus was "muy rapido" but after we had skidded across the road, convinced that the bus would turn over, the driver drove more slowly and we arrived at 9.15pm but at least we made it.

The next day was bright and sunny (so we could have got the flight) but anyway we were there and spent the day exploring Rurre, which takes half an hour max, and then agonising over which pampas tour to take from the numerous agencies on offer. We joined up with 4 people off the flight and chose Indigena Tours, a good choice as it turned out.